J. Stanley Marshall
Key Player

Founding Chairman, James Madison InstituteDr. J. Stanley Marshall founded the James Madison Institute (JMI) in 1987, and served as its president until 2000. He is currently the Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors.

Marshall served on the Florida State University faculty from 1958 to 1976; he was the university’s president from 1969 to 1976. Marshall then ventured into the private sector by launching a security and fire-prevention business.

Over breakfast at a Tallahassee Ramada Inn in 1987, Marshall spoke about the need for a group advocating limits on government. He chose the name of the “Father of the U.S. Constitution” for the new think tank because of Madison’s observation about how government threatens liberty: “Since the general civilization of mankind, I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations.”

Marshall has developed close working relationships with many of Florida’s political leaders including former Governor Jeb Bush. After Bush became Governor in 1999, his nonprofit group (the Foundation for Florida’s Future) was folded into JMI.

In 2008, Bush’s new foundation, the Foundation for Excellence in Education, joined JMI to co-sponsor the “Excellence in Action” education reform summit. Speakers included New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, U.S. Education Secretary Margaret Spellings, and ABC News “20/20” correspondent John Stossel. Private-school vouchers were intensely discussed at a number of panel discussions.

Peter Schorsch, a Florida political consultant, credits Marshall for profoundly influencing Florida politics, writing in an August 2009 Tallahassee Democrat op-ed that “Men such as Jeb Bush and Charlie Crist owe some part of their careers to the path Marshall blazed.”